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The search for the right cosmetic dentist for you can be a tough search.  There are many different factors to look at and it’s tough to try to judge somebody’s skills or training from just a website or advertisement.  I’ve tried to think of things that may separate those dentists who have a passion for cosmetic dentistry versus those who do it on the side.

Here are a few things I’d recommend looking for when searching for the best cosmetic dentist for you.

1) Training and qualifications are important in cosmetic dentistry.  There are many techniques and procedures that are unique to cosmetics and proper training in these methods can make the difference between a mediocre result and a fantastic one.  Don’t be afraid to ask about these items, an accomplished cosmetic dentist will be able to describe their special training and accomplishments.  See if the dentist is a member of cosmetic dental groups.  Because these associations and academies can be expensive to join and maintain memberships in, a financial commitment on the dentists part in joining these groups shows some dedication to this field.

2) Before and after photos can showcase the dentist’s work.  The photos should be of actual patients treated by the dentist.  While there are good cosmetic dentists out there that don’t have photographs, it’s tough to judge their work from a patient’s perspective.  If smile photos are available, it’s a good way to look at cases that might have similar problems you’re trying to fix.  Photography can be an important part of diagnosing and treating cosmetic cases so pictures of patients shows that the dentist is using the proper aids to help them diagnose and treat a cosmetic case.

3) A chance to sit down for a consultation before making any commitments is very important.  You should be given the opportunity to meet the dentist and to ask questions.  It’s very important that you feel comfortable with the dentist who may be treating you.  Because it can be such an important investment, you should be confident in the dentists abilities and trust their treatment plan for you.  A face to face meeting is one of the keys to making sure you’re at the right office.

4) The dental lab is a critical part of the cosmetic dental team.  The labs create the porcelain veneers and crowns that will be cemented to the teeth.  As you might imagine, there are many different levels of skills, technologies, and dedication that can go into the creation of the restorations.  Some dental labs use dental artists who spend extra time and materials to make more lifelike restorations.  Some technicians use microscopes when creating their work for extra precision for the best fit.  So good lab technicians can help make lifelike veneers versus standard labs which may make restorations that look “fake”.  Usually, the higher quality labs will charge more because of the additional time and expertise involved.  If a dentist is offering very low pricing on cosmetics then either they are making very little profit or they are using lower cost labs.

5) Advanced training in occlusion along with cosmetic dentistry can be helpful in designing cosmetic cases for better functionality which in turn can lead to longer lasting restorations.  Of course, overeating hard foods like nuts, hard candies, and ice can sometimes break natural teeth and therefore veneers and crowns too.  But if a chewing system is not designed with a few guiding principles, it could setup early failure.  Look for additional training in occlusion if you’re looking at a big makeover.  The best courses in occlusion usually take a few years to complete outside of dental school.

6) Look at review websites such as Yelp or Google.  You can see if there are mostly happy and satisfied clients or if there are many unhappy and upset clients.  Although I would not rely only on social media websites, they can be a useful tool in helping you find the best cosmetic dentist for your needs.

So I think these items will help you in your quest to find the best cosmetic dentist for you.